This July, I’ll be 20 years old. I remember being little and thinking 20 sounded “sooo old!!” But now I’m excited to turn 20 because then I will no longer be the teenage bride. (Kidding. I have zero regrets about getting married at 19.)
A friend posted a list similar to this on Facebook a few months ago (thank you!), and it got me thinking… What have I learned in the almost 20 years I’ve been alive? And I came up with this list.
1. You can never be too good.
When I was younger, I was teased for being good. Once I was even called a “perfect angel” in a mocking voice. I still don’t get why people think that’s bad. It took me several years to learn that being good and keeping the commandments is never bad, and definitely not something to be ashamed of. Thank you, mom, for helping me learn that one.
2. You can’t rely on anybody’s testimony but your own.
I’ve heard this in church a thousand times. But I never truly understood it until a little over a year ago, when I had to stop leaning on others’ testimonies and start strengthening my own. My own testimony is the only one that I can rely on 100%.
3. Change starts now.
I’m actually still learning this one, but I think it’s super important. I have a bad habit of saying things like “I’ll wait until Monday to start exercising” or “maybe I’ll start doing that next year.” If I want to change something, I have to start now. And in a week, or a month, or a year from now, I’ll be glad I did.
4. Believe in yourself and others.
While I was growing up, my parents never made me feel like I couldn’t do something. They always believed in me, and they helped me believe in myself, too. This affected me positively, and this is why I want to believe in other people too. Even if what they dream of doing seems impossible.
5. I am a daughter of Heavenly Father, and He knows me and loves me.
This is something that has given me strength, comfort, and peace throughout the years. If there’s one thing I want my future daughter(s) to know, it’s this.
6. Don’t give your heart to just anyone.
Sadly, I learned this the hard way, a few times. And it involved quite a bit of heartache… This also applies to friendships and other relationships, not only romantic love.
7. It’s important to love yourself.
I used to really dislike myself. How I looked, how I acted… It took a long time, but I am slowly learned to love who I am. Being confident and feeling good about myself makes me more motivated and happy.
8. God has a plan for you, even if it’s not what you expected or wanted.
Learning this involved some disappointment, and a lot of tears, since I had to give up something I so desperately wanted. But after many prayers, I know that the path I’m going down now is the one I’m supposed to be on.
9. Do things that scare you.
My mom always encouraged me to do things even though I was afraid. Because of her, I learned that doing these things helped me and my comfort zone grow. Every time I take another step out of my comfort zone, it gets bigger.
10. You decide who you are.
Sometimes I get angry, impatient, or rude. And then I think, “gosh, why do I have to be that way? I wish I was different.” But if I want to be a certain way, I can. I have to change something. Because I can choose who I am.
11. You get out what you put in.
Whether it’s your job, your hobby, your relationship, or life in general. I’ve learned that I can’t expect to get something for nothing. I have to hard work, time, and effort into it.
12. Everyone feels the Spirit differently.
I had been told this a lot, but didn’t understand it until recently. I felt alone because I thought everyone else was feeling the Spirit and I wasn’t. But the Spirit speaks to everyone differently, and I finally learned how it speaks to me. It really made a difference in my life.
13. You can’t always please everyone.
I’m a people pleaser. It can be a good thing, but it can also be a bad thing. I care too much about how people view me, what they think of me, and their expectations for me. But it’s not about pleasing others. It’s about pleasing God.
14. It is okay to have different opinions and to voice them.
I used to think that if I didn’t have the same opinions as people I cared about, I wasn’t as good a person as they were. I have no idea why I thought this. But it’s definitely okay to view things differently.
15. Nature is rejuvenating.
Simply sitting outside is a great way to recharge. There’s something about feeling the breeze, breathing fresh air, and enjoying the Lord’s beautiful creations that is just so refreshing.
16. Happiness is a choice.
I realize that this is not necessarily true for those struggling with depression. However, I know that for me right now, it is a choice. I can choose to focus on the good rather than the bad. I can find things to be grateful for even when it seems like the whole world is against me. I can realize that whatever I’m upset about is not really worth being upset over. I’m not talking about bottling up your feelings. That’s definitely not healthy. I’m talking about focusing on the happy things. Besides… It feels really good to be joyful!
17. It’s okay to say no.
And I’m learning to be okay with that. (I hate disappointing people.)
18. Every decision matters.
Thomas S. Monson said: “Decisions determine destiny.” Every single decision we make matters. Even the small ones… except for maybe the choice between Cheerios or Froot Loops for breakfast. ☺
19. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
This is something my dad always said. He told us that his dad always said it to him too, and it stuck with me. So I’ve tried to always go the extra mile. Whether it’s my church calling, a job, or doing something someone asked me to do… I try to give it all I’ve got. Sometimes I get lazy and slack off though, so I’m still learning this one.
20. You’ll never regret kindness.
I have never regretted a single kind thing I’ve done. Ever. But there are times when I’ve felt prompted to do or say something nice and I ignored it. I regret those times.
I’m only almost 20, so I still have a lot to learn, but I’m excited for that. I’m so grateful for everyone in my life who has taught me something. I’m blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful people.